Conveners

 

Teams - Jasmin Agosto Jasmin Agosto
Jasmin Agosto is the education and community outreach manager of the Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library. She has been working with artists, community organizers, healers, scholars, students, and elders to organize cultural arts and history focused festivals, events, exhibitions, and programs for more than 15 years. She holds a BA in Educational Studies and American Studies from Trinity College and a MA in Artist Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Community Development from NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
Teams - Hilary Bogert-Winkler Hilary Bogert-Winkler
Hilary Bogert-Winkler began her public dialogue work as part of the Encounters team at the University of Connecticut in 2017. Working as part of the Humility and Conviction in Public Life project at the UConn Humanities Institute, she worked with partners in local public institutions to bring the Encounters model to their communities. In her current role as Director of Pastoral Studies at Montreal Diocesan Theological College, she is particularly interested in how to incorporate dialogue models into Canadian civic life, as well as the ways religious groups can use dialogue in their communities.
Teams - Janna Israel Janna Israel
Janna Israel is the Adult and Academic Programs Manager at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. She received her Ph.D. in art and architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she developed projects on early modern urbanism, prints, and metalwork. Her research has been supported by several organizations including the American Academy in Rome, the Delmas Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and recently, the Villa I Tatti, to conduct research for her book project, The Nature of Ores: Early Modern Mining and Metallurgy.
Teams - Brendan Kane Brendan Kane
Brendan Kane is Associate Professor of History and of Literatures, Cultures and Languages at UConn and he is founding co-director of the Encounters Series, a program for public dialogue that links scholarly research with community concerns, and the founding and current Director of UConn’s Democracy and Dialogues Initiative. The foundational intellectual motivation guiding his work in the archive, the classroom and the public concerns the ways that people recognize and negotiate difference. As a research focus, that interest manifests in comparative study of early modern Ireland and England, with particular attention to colonialism and encounter. Brendan currently serves as the Faculty Director of the Human Rights and Action Learning Community.
Teams - Erica MacDonald Erica MacDonald
Erica MacDonald is a PhD candidate in the department of Political Science at the University of Connecticut and the Graduate Assistant for the Democracy and Dialogue Initiative for the 2020-2021 academic year. She participated as a 2019-2020 ICD Fellow, working with Glenn Mitoma and Rachel Jackson, to examine the potential utility of dialogue in human rights education. Previously, she served as the Graduate Assistant for the Dodd Center’s Business and Human Rights Initiative and for UConn’s Human Rights Institute. She holds a BA in International Relations from Connecticut College and a MA in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University.
Teams - Jason Mancini Jason Mancini
Dr. Jason Mancini is Executive Director of Connecticut Humanities and cofounder of Akomawt Educational Initiative. During the past 30+ years, he has worked with the tribes and indigenous peoples of southern New England, Alaska, Hawai’i, and New Zealand.  He is an ally to these communities, collaborates on community histories, and works to improve their access to historical and cultural resources held in settler-colonial institutions. His academic interests include indigenous social networks and ethnogeographies, Indian mariners and maritime traditions, cultural landscapes, and indigenous erasures. Jason holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Connecticut with expertise in the archaeology and ethnohistory of New England.
Teams - Brenda Miller Brenda Miller
Brenda Miller is the Executive Director, Culture and Communications, at Hartford Public Library (HPL). In this position, she works to shape, implement and enhance the library's strategic goals by stewarding and creatively engaging the Library’s diverse community with the rich cultural collections, programs and services produced and reflected in the Library’s Hartford History Center (HHC) and through the ArtWalk, the Library’s premier gallery space. Brenda also helps to ensure that HPL is strategically positioned to promote, enhance and engage stakeholders at all levels – through traditional media, social media, grassroots marketing, internal and external messaging, community partnerships, branding, signage and the website.  Additionally, she oversees the Library’s new social enterprise initiative, the DLL@HPL, specializing in providing one-stop imaging, digital archiving and photography services as well searchable access to digital material. She holds a B.A. History, University of Connecticut, and a M.A. American Studies – Museums, Communities and Archives, Trinity College, Hartford, CT.
Teams - Dana Miranda Dana Francisco Miranda
Dana Francisco Miranda first began working on public dialogue as a graduate student at the University of Connecticut-Storrs. As a Public Humanities Research Assistant for the Humility and Conviction in Public Life project (2016-2019), he worked with partners at public institutions to construct a structured-dialogue model that could foster conversation and facilitate change. He has found that the Encounter Series has allowed him to engage with communities, whether in the public or the classroom. As an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Faculty Fellow at the Applied Ethics Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston, he hopes to continue this work.
Teams - Chris Newell Chris Newell
Chris Newell (Passamaquoddy) is the Executive Director and Senior Partner to Wabanaki Nations at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine, and founding member of the Akomawt Educational Initiative. Prior to that, he was Head of Education at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum.  Chris was born and raised on the Indian Township reservation in eastern Maine.  He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut as well as continuing education in Native studies. He has lectured on relevant topics to include the portrayal of Native America in mainstream media, cultural insensitivities, and Native appropriation challenges and serves regionally as a pow wow MC and singer with the Mystic River Singers.
Teams - endawnis Spears endawnis Spears
endawnis Spears (Diné/ Ojibwe/ Chickasaw/ Choctaw) is impassioned about the diverse and complex intersections of Native American narratives and museums.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Denver. endawnis has worked for the Heard Museum, Museum of Northern Arizona, Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, was a Peabody Essex Museum Native American Arts and Culture Fellow and currently serves on the board of the Federation of State Humanities Councils.   She is the Director of Outreach and Programming and founding member of the Akomawt Educational Initiative, an indigenous education and interpretive consultancy.  Originally from Camp Verde, Arizona, she lives in present-day  Rhode Island with her husband and four children.
Teams - Rebecca Taber-Conover Rebecca Taber-Conover
Rebecca Taber-Conover is the Head of Public Programs and Connecticut History Day for the Connecticut Democracy Center at Connecticut’s Old State House (OSH). Rebecca manages programs and oversees the Connecticut affiliate of the National History Day program in which over 4,000 middle- and high-school students participate. Previously, she served as Director of Education for Connecticut Landmarks. Rebecca holds a master’s degree in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program and a B.A. in History/ Historic Preservation from Mary Washington College. In 2011, she received the Bruce Fraser Friend of CCSS Award by the Connecticut Council for Social Studies.
Teams - Sally Whipple Sally Whipple
Sally Whipple is the Executive Director of The Connecticut Democracy Center at Connecticut's Old State House, a non-profit, non-party affiliated organization that provides people with a lifetime pathway to active citizenship and the tools to take informed civic action in their own communities. She serves on the Secretary of the State's Connecticut Civic Health Advisory Group, the boards of Discovering Amistad, Inc., the Association for the Study of Connecticut History, and the Friends of Coltsville, as well as the Editorial Board of Connecticut Explored. She is past Chair of Connecticut Humanities, past President of the CT League of History Organizations, and a recipient of the New England Museum Association's 2015 Award of Excellence. Her prior museum work includes the Mark Twain House, Noah Webster House, and the Lebanon Historical Society Museum. As a museum consultant in museum education and interpretive and strategic planning, she has worked with history groups across the state.